The FCC, tasked with overseeing the rules that govern the Internet, raised the standard for broadband at 25 megabits per second from 4 Mbps, while raising the upload speed to 3 Mbps from 1 Mbps. The commissioners voted 3 to 2 in support of the change, though the dissenting Republican commissioners blasted the move as “overreaching.” The move comes as the FCC published its 2015 Broadband Progress Report, which is what Congress uses to assess the US broadband market.
The new definition effectively means that millions of Americans subscribing to Internet service that clocks in at less than 25 Mbps are no longer considered “broadband” subscribers. The average speed of service delivered in the US is 10 Mbps. Using this new threshold, the agency determined in its report that true broadband speeds are not being delivered in a timely fashion.
The agency’s report found that 55 million Americans, or 17 percent of the population, lack access to advanced broadband services. The bulk of Americans who do not have access to such speeds are in rural areas. The report indicates that 53 percent of rural Americans lack broadband with download speeds of 25 Mbps. This is compared to 8 percent of Americans living in urban areas. The report also indicates that 20 percent of rural Americans don’t even have access to the previous standard of 4 Mbps downloads. >more